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Haunted by Ozzy's ghost. - 95%

hells_unicorn, May 18th, 2009

A little known fact about the late 80s period of Sabbath is that in spite of being long rid of Ozzy as a front man, his ghost still continued to haunt Iommi despite all of his best efforts. To those who wonder what the hell I’m talking about, it is the funny little story about how this single’s title track “Call Of The Wild” got its name. Apparently Tony and company had elected to call the song “Hero”, but due to a song by the exact same name on Ozzy’s latest solo offering “No Rest For The Wicked”, the name was changed despite the original title being emphasized like crazy during the chorus. Likewise, the b-side “Devil And Daughter” its name changed from simply being called “Devil’s Daughter” because of yet another song on said Ozzy album by that name. One begins to wonder if Ozzy projected himself through the astral plain while in a state of Zen-like meditation and decreed the song titles for two of the more fanfare oriented songs from “Headless Cross”.

But band history aside, these two songs are essentially perfect for each other from a stylistic standpoint. They both feature extremely catchy choruses loaded with beautiful vocal harmonies courtesy of underrated genius Tony Martin, nifty little drum intros followed by solid driving beats out of famed and now departed kit master Cozy Powell, pleasing keyboard aesthetics from the man behind the curtain Geoff Nichols, and some of the most memorable riffs every put together by the original man of steel himself Tony Iommi. Likewise, although Iommi was all but completely stuck producing this thing himself, he came out with something that was an absolute winner, particularly in terms of the atmospheric quality that is established through the heavy keyboard usage. There isn’t a dull moment to be heard anywhere, its all one big, riveting epic fest of metal worship as the masters of the original craft can only themselves deliver.

There isn’t really much reason to track this down unless you are obsessed with owning every single piece of vinyl that Black Sabbath put out between 1970 and 1998, but from a historical perspective this single is sort of an interesting phenomenon. It dwarfs every single put out by the band with Tony Martin, and features some of the most inventive yet consistent moments in Tony Iommi’s extensive career as a heavy metal pioneer. If nothing else, this demands that you get to the store and pick up a copy of “Headless Cross” fast.